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The Effects of Context on Biomedical Data Reuse (SIG MED)

Melissa Cragin, Leonard D'Avolio, W. John MacMullen and Catherine Arnott Smith

(Submission #29)


The collection of huge stores of electronically-formatted information and advances in information processing technologies has led to dramatic changes in the conduct of biomedical science. In biology, a paradigm shift is underway due to an un-precedented flood of data, the emergence of shared research repositories, and advances in the application of data mining algo-rithms. As a result, the traditional model of scientific discovery of “formulate hypothesis, conduct experiment, evaluate re-sults” is being replaced with “collect and store data, mine for new hypotheses, confirm with data or supplemental experi-ment” (Han et al. 2002). In clinical medicine, similar developments have made possible a variety of secondary applications of extant clinical data, including physician decision support, outcomes assessment, document retrieval, and clinician perform-ance evaluation. The quality, or usefulness, of existing data for secondary uses has thus far been approached with a focus on issues of technical access and the mathematical format of data. Largely ignored in these efforts are the effects on quality in-troduced when data captured for one purpose is reused for another. This panel brings together four researchers with ongoing studies in the biomedical domain focused on the effects of context on the quality of data for secondary uses. Drawing from empirical evidence the topics to be addressed include; 1) the effects on context on data reuse, 2) anticipating, identifying and accounting for these effects, and 3) the future implications of large-scale data reuse for information professionals in the bio-medical domain.

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